Monday, January 26, 2009


Ranch 99 Asian Superstore, $1.50/single-serving pack

A common snack or breakfast food in the Philippines, champorado is a soft, sweet cereal of overcooked sticky rice, chocolate, and sugar. Although I'd probably pass on the traditional accompaniment of dried fish, there's little not to like about the idea of "cocoa flavored rice porridge". I always imagined it would fall somewhere between chocolate rice pudding and the delicious dregs of all-to-infrequent childhood bowls of Cocoa Pebbles.

So I snagged a packet of Family Recipes' heat'n'eat champorado from the Asian Superstore up the road and spent the next few weeks using it for entertainment whilst in the kitchen waiting for other things to happen; I passed several happy hours gently squeezing the pouch as if building up my hand muscles or mulling over a cheap breast implant, tunefully imploring Champorado to "come to your senses". Finally hunger brought me to my own senses.

If you're out on maneuvers, it's perfectly possible to eat this S.R.E cold and "straight from the pouch"; for a more Martha approach, immerse the pack in boiling water (below) or nuke it in the microwave. Champorado can be dressed up even further with a swirl of condensed milk.

Although Family Recipes promises that when you tear into their packet, " are assured of the perfect champorado," I sincerely hope that they are exaggerating. Their champorado might best be described as "primordial", both in terms of its slimy texture and the impression it gives of wanting to be something else without quite making it.

It may be that champorado, like fellow regional comfort foods ochazuke and grits, really needs to be slaved over a little. And I do mean "a little"; from the looks of this recipe, making champorado from scratch isn't that much more demanding than heating and decanting a pre-fab packet.

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